World Meteorological Organisation
How WMO is collaborating with the UNCCD secretariat?
The UNCCD Secretariat and WMO have a long standing collaboration spanning more than a decade. The current collaboration between the two organizations is aimed at assisting countries in developing their National Drought Policies based on the anticipated outcomes of the High Level Meeting on National Drought Policies (HMNDP) that is planned for March 2013.
The WMO/UNCCD collaboration towards the development of national drought policies is undertaken on the understanding that despite the repeated occurrences of droughts throughout human history and the large impacts on different socio-economic sectors, no concerted efforts have ever been made to initiate a dialogue on the formulation and adoption of national drought policies. Thus it has been observed with concern that amongst all the countries in the world, only Australia has developed a national drought policy based on the principles of risk management.
It is envisage that the resultant National Drought Policies could be centered around five goals that would include:
1) Proactive mitigation and planning measures, risk management, public outreach and resource stewardship as key elements of effective national drought policy.
2) Greater collaboration to enhance the national/regional/global observation network and information delivery system to improve public understanding of and preparedness for drought.
3) Incorporation of comprehensive governmental and private insurance and financial strategies into drought preparedness plans.
4) Recognition of a safety net of emergency relief based on sound stewardship of natural resources and self-help at diverse governance levels.
5) Coordination of drought programs and response in an effective, efficient and customer-oriented manner.
These goals of a national drought policy could contribute immensely to poverty alleviation, economic development, and societal and environmental wellbeing as a whole, especially in the developing countries. Droughts do impact the management of agriculture and water resources, construction, energy resources, health, tourism, recreation, transportation, markets and ecosystems. Many governments have not been proactive in the management of droughts because of the lack of a clear orientation. Consequently, the UNCCD/WMO collaboration considers the proposed high level dialogue on the national drought policies to be useful if initiated to ensure that government actions transcend far beyond the conventional reactive approaches.
If more acceptable results are to be achieved in dealing with droughts, a new approach should be taken and a new attitude adopted. A high level meeting could help develop such a new approach through development of a common understanding of the issues involved, discussing the different approaches that could be incorporated into a national drought policy and finally, establishing a framework of a national drought policy that could help all the nations around the world. Alongside this initiative it is anticipated that the HMNDP would help to support the UNCCD Advocacy Policy Framework, to use and improve UNCCD drought indicators, to advise UNCCD country partners how to implement those policies, and to consider the economics aspects of that issue.